Maria’s Story – Part 1: The Bump

The grueling ten-month journey into Ontario’s healthcare bureaucracy to get a melanoma removed from a woman’s neck.

The Bump

You can review the Timeline of Events here 

The origin story of any skin cancer diagnosis typically begins like this:

“Hmph. I wonder what that is?” and is usually followed by “Do you think I should get it checked out?”

And that is exactly how Maria’s story with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, began. A conspicuous bump on her neck that was dismissed just as quickly as it was insignificant in size. Afterall, people should not panic over every little defect on their body, otherwise hospital emergency rooms would be filled up to the gills.

Unfortunately, some skin cancers – like melanoma – are like icebergs. What you see is incomparable to what lies beneath the surface. Unlike other skin cancers, like basal cell carcinoma which spreads locally on the skin surface, melanomas may grow deep INTO the skin and beyond, wreaking havoc on the internal workings of the body.

Luckily for Maria, she has a healthy respect for the vagaries of the human body and a sixth sense about her overall health. That is why she took steps to have this tiny bump checked out by her family physician.

There was just one problem. She noticed the bump a couple weeks after the March 2020 lockdown. And as we remember vividly, not only did every non-essential business shutdown, but healthcare facilities were limited to patients with the most critical conditions.

So, as a society, we bunkered down and performed our civic duty. Meanwhile, Maria’s undiagnosed melanoma festered, unabated, mere centimetres away from her carotid artery and lymph nodes.

At the time there seemed to be no reasons to rush to the hospital and risk contracting the coronavirus. That is why Maria decided to wait until her annual check-up on May 11 and have her bump checked out at the same time. She assumed, like we all did, that the lockdown would be lifted by then.

In Part 2 the realities of the pandemic hit Maria right in the neck.

Visit today and have your suspicious moles or bumps checked out virtually.

Share this story and help us raise awareness about skin cancer.

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